In December 2018 me, Mario and Kendrick, who was just 8 months old, visited Renegade Tea Estate for the very first time. And we were sold! Even though most of the things on this trip went south, we were astonished about what the fellow Renegades had done by this time so there was not much thinking involved and already next month Mario flew to Georgia to start with the plantation works. If you haven’t read the story of how we ended up moving to Georgia you can do it HERE. It is crazy to think back on how everything evolved…
Our first year as Renegade tea farmers, 2019
Back in Estonia
Now, we have been back in Estonia for one month. Or to be precise, we came back to Estonia in the second part of July and our stay here became much longer than we initially planned for, until the beginning of September… If you have read the previous blog post by Hannes, you might know that both Mario and I were not in really good shape emotionally but also physically. So we took our time to figure out how to proceed and how to get our things together which ultimately made us decide that we cannot continue as tea farmers anymore.
This decision didn’t come easily. We both had some battles inside of us and we kept thinking of ways to continue. These 4 years have been challenging in so many ways - doing something that you don’t have any idea about, building a company from the scratch, working in a completely different environment and culture, being away from our support system, so many uncertainties, financial questions and on top of that, we had super energetic Kendrick who is at the moment 4,5 years old and whom we needed to focus on as well. But in the end we were like lemons who were squeezed out of juice and we both felt that we needed more stability for our family, for ourselves, but especially for Kendrick.
Kendrick with his personal tea bush which was gifted for his 2nd mini-birthday.
Retired tea farmers?
So here we are now. Back in Estonia, back in Voka, in our home. Retired tea farmers - can we say that? I took a month to process all of it and to put those words together here to share with all of you guys.
Despite the fact that we ended our journey as Renegade tea farmers who kind of burnt out, I am really truly happy that we did it. This was just one hell of a ride. We have laughed so hard, we have cried, and we have achieved something that I never could imagine. We have built such an amazing community. The people that we have met throughout those years… Our team members in Georgia as well as all the people who visited us from different parts of the world, and there were a lot of you by the way. So grateful for that. Grateful for those moments when we chased the cows in the plantation and sipped tea afterward. These moments gave me so much for me emotionally.
Tour day at Renegade Tea Estate, June 2022
And Georgia. I really do love Georgia with all of its differences. It was a home for us for all those years, especially the last 2 years when we were there all year along. Most of the life that Kendrick remembers, happened in Georgia. We have so many great memories from there and we met people that we can now call friends for life. Our circle was always really small, but strong.
One of the most memorable trips with our friends to Gomismta -
a village above the clouds.
Now we are trying to figure out ways to not forget the Georgian language. We were always laughing that Kendrick will be the first one who is able to communicate with the local team freely. And this is what actually happened. If there is something that we ourselves are not happy and proud about, it is the fact that we didn’t learn the language fully, so we could step into a conversation without having problems. Yes, we both speak a bit of Georgian, Mario is definitely better at it, but it is kind of limited. But we still have time to learn it, right?
What will the next chapter be?
So yeah… This chapter is closed now. We are onto the next one whatever it will be. As always, we are open-minded to different experiences and opportunities. We are still part of Renegades but not in an active way. We are still rooting for this vision. We are still super proud of how far we have become and we know the potential that we have to get even bigger. All fingers and toes crossed for success and that more and more people could enjoy our teas:)